The year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon team of three families has hired the mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a short cut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
Reichardt's revisionist Western provides a strikingly human take on Oregon Trail mythology. Amid all the unknowing, fear and terror and hope and humor rise up like onions slowly shriveling in a frying pan.
In genre called "western" which is also history in America, women is depicted as small supporting role or object through male gaze. "Meek's Cutoff" is ambitious & beautifully sublime film which retells western/history by perspective of women peripheral & abused. Maybe because of this, Reichardt becomes one of most important director in the world. OVERWHELMING.
Bleak and austere, beautiful and hypnotic, there’s very little dialogue but plenty of stunning shots & some great acting (Michelle Williams really shines in this and Bruce Greenwood is unrecognizable). This is definitely going to be on my Best-of-2011 list.
About the polarizing ending: the last shot is exactly what I had imagined the film would end with.
Now this is a film. Beautifully captured, great camera work and astonishing use of colors. You don't feel slow parts because even when the camera wonders there's something meaningful going on; you can see it in the duration of the gestures. It is without a doubt a great cinematic experience and a insightful story. Great ending.
Loneliness and growing paranoia creep along the edges of this quietly haunting western about a small wagon train heading west under the guidance of a mysterious frontiersman that the pioneers begin to mistrust. Austere and carefully modulated, MEEK'S CUTOFF is a marvel of artistic and emotional restraint.